Firstly, I looked at staying at Marques de Riscal hotel, you know, the one designed by Frank Gehry. I checked Booking.com for our dates. £425 per night? You’re having a Giraffe! (Cockney rhyming slang for laugh – my base is 30 miles outside London , I just feel that I can use it. Don’t judge me!). Searching further on Booking.com revealed Bodega Valdelana a winery/hotel/museum just down the road at £65 pounds per night. Of course, that was more my price!
Firstly, let me be candid. I have stayed in some dives in my time. Some stick in my memory, some for various reasons, do not. (I remember one in the Canary Islands which shall remain nameless where I walked in to find the receptionist photographing his genitalia on his mobile phone. It was nothing to shout about, poor lad. I assume it was for an app, Tinder or Grinder or some such. That hotel, of course, was very cheap.)
I was slightly worried here by the price. That seemed especially cheap for the heart of Rioja. But as soon as I stepped through the door my mind was put at rest.
Firstly, the staff were attentive and spoke fluent English. Secondly, checking in was a breeze and quickly completed. Jesus, from reception, showed Tam (my significant other) and myself up to our room, even carrying the bags for us. The room was compact and bijou but very well appointed. Aircon, Wi-Fi and surprisingly, a balcony were all included. I will mention, that in fact, a continental breakfast and a tour of the museum is included in the price too! That made it an absolute bargain!
Our room overlooked the front of the hotel and from the left of our balcony, we could see the Frank Gehry hotel. Furthermore, from the front, it gave us a fantastic view of Elciego’s church. Tam declared it perfect!
That very afternoon we took the tour and on the whole, were suitably blown away. It had a unique feature that I have yet to see replicated elsewhere of a colour and taste room.
In the colour room were pictures of all the whites and reds you could wish to meet in backlit panels. This is a great idea by and large and the first time I have seen it. It lets you see the colours of all the wines you’ll come across. The ‘smell’ room, for want of a better word, had backlit panels of various tastes/smells you can encounter with wine tasting and containers which you could sniff that particular smell. The colours and smells, all happen in rooms with muted light, to emphasize the colours and smells.
I found this to be a really great idea and it did heighten the senses in preparation for tasting.
In conclusion, if you fancy basing yourself here on your Rioja adventure, I can highly recommend Bodega Valdelana! Clean rooms, great views, overall a nice hotel and everything worked, including the price. If you are planning a trip to the Rioja Wineries Bodegas click on the link to check out how we did it, to give you some ideas. If you are looking for a tour guide, click here, he’s great, and for this reason, I’m more than happy to recommend Wine Taste Lovers, the ones we used.
All Prices and information are correct at time of writing.
Click for more on Bodega Marques de Riscal mentioned earlier.
For more info on our trip, click here Planning a trip to the Rioja Wineries Bodegas